Pinellas County begins distributing 10K COVID-19 vaccines; appointments full

Coronavirus

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Pinellas County will start distributing 10,000 COVID vaccines to those 65 and older by appointment only on Tuesday.

The new process was tested out over the weekend and Pinellas County Public Information Manager David Connor said the test run went smoothly. Now emotions are high as many are excited for this new vaccination process to begin.

“We’re excited about our partnership with the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, they’re a state agency and we’re county government,” Connor said. “We’re working together here for a good cause. We’re hopeful for the week [ahead.]”

Connor said the department plans to disperse the 10,000 vaccines at four locations from Jan. 19 through Jan. 25, but they are not releasing exactly where.

“We want people to understand you can’t just show up. It’s going to make it harder because it could be unsafe, we don’t want people clustering around each location,” Connor said.

8 On Your Side has been told the locations are in Pinellas Park, Palm Harbor, Largo and St. Petersburg. Connor says the locations will not be drive-through vaccination sites.

Connor said they tested the technology, ran over procedures and gave 200 shots to health care workers at a soft launch Saturday.

“I’m waiting and hoping!” said 78-year-old Kathleen Bowersox.

She told 8 On Your Side that she had cancer, is diabetic and wants the vaccine to visit her grandkids in New York. Bowersox said she just barely missed the appointment openings last Friday. According to the Dept. of Health, all 10,000 slots filled up in an hour.

“A friend sent me a text and said I just got my vaccine, go to WFLA.com. I did and it said it had closed 10 minutes earlier,” Bowersox said.

“We acknowledge there is frustration out there, but as we get more vaccine we will make sure it gets efficiently distributed,” Connor said.

8 On Your Side asked Connor when more vaccines would be coming. He said they’re wondering the same thing.

If you don’t have an appointment to get the vaccine yet, officials suggest you pre-register. To do that, go to the CDR Health Patient Portal. We’re told it takes about 15 minutes to create an account and notifications about new appointments will be sent out in there as they become available.

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